©Darrell Schramm, 2020

This rose rusts. Healthy for years

this year its leaves are leavened with rust,

rich, thick stipules of rust. Their undersides

seem to pride themselves with a yellow-gold

coating, powder soft, like the spores

of ferns. No inexactitude, exclusion, lack.


This Damascene damsel for years has worn

robes of beryl green, bejeweled

with swirls of huge pearl-pink clusters dense

with petals, crinkled and fluted, a tall

nodding, extravagant bush, so full

of flowers and foliage we know it gives all

of itself. No half-way rose.

And so, this vulnerable year,

hosting rust, it did so lavishly: “I want it all.”


Struck down by the gods, as it were,

some would say. But watch this beauty

rebound, an 18th century loveliness rarely found.


©Darrell Schramm, 2020

          Darrell went through BAWP summer of 1992 and as a returning Fellow in 1996. He is retired from the University of San Francisco where he taught composition, rhetoric, and poetry. His hobby is gardening; he grows 250 roses among other plants. His book Rainbow: A History of the Rose in California was published in 2017.

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